In an article called “Choosing an island” I explored the options which island could be available for building a sovereign micro-state. The islands that are available have all their implications, however … it would be a difficult thing to do. So if we cannot choose an island to live on, then why not on an iceberg? Let’s see:
- map of iceberg sightings from the International Ice Patrol, around Newfound Land
- report of an enormous 80x30km iceberg that recently was created in the antarctis
- general information, also about size and life expectancy, from English Wikipedia and German wikipedia
- in-depth information about icebergs
- The English Wikipedia mentions that people camping on icebergs are called “icebergers” [source], but it was impossible to verify that anywhere else on the Internet.
- Instead of camping on the iceberg, one could also cut a cave in it and live there.
- The iceberg could be driven by using one or more big kites, like they are now used for large ships.
- discussion about using icebergs for seasteads (creating ones own country)
And instead of using an iceberg, one could also use an artificial island of any sort:
I agree that, in a society, one needs agreed-upon “interfaces” by which people are able to recognize other’s abilities and qualifications. However, I argue that the current implementation of that interfacing is or got compromized. I am therefore against this system.
The current implementation is based on “names” or “titles”, which entitle people to certain positions or rights, both in hierarchy-based parts of society (like the school teacher system, or politics, or military) and in non-hierarchical parts (like in the “free economy”). Names might include personal or company references (having worked for somebody special), education and degrees (like a dissertation, a diploma etc., all in a formal education system) and positions (having served for some time in some position).
Now the problem is, as with any meta layer or proxy measure that you introduce in society contexts (such as money), that people start to strive for the proxy (here, names instead of qualification; also applies to money instead of value; also applies to beauty instead of health). Because it takes less effort to reach the proxy than the thing it proxies (which is the attribute that makes such a system compromiseable).
Now this leaves us with a society full of hypocrites: people strive for names and titles, wasting all their time, money and energy for this, and qualification is just a bye-product. And society is then expected to live on that bye-product … poor society.
Also, technicians like me (here meaning: the people interested in technology and ability, not in names) are the losers in such a name-based society. I want to leave this and join another society …
Basically, why do we need a sovereign micro-society? The reason is not that it would be unbearable to live within a current state (some even deal quite respectfully with all their people, see e.g. the First Nations in Canada. The reason is that it could become unbearable to live in an existing state (like when it becomes totalitarian), and the reason is that it is mostly disgusting currently (just look at politics and how they behave and the reasons and motives drives politics: greed for money and influence, while a sovereign micro-society just wants calm, undisturbed, peaceful, sustainable existence). This post is just about another vision for a self-supported micro society. Currently I clearly favor the "sovereign ship" solution to that, but here is this idea, anyway.
There seems to be an internationally recognized process how to create an own state. First you choose a non-self-governing territory like one of the English overseas territories. Then you establish a population there, if not yet existent. Then you get registered at the UNPO. Then you need to get on the United Nations List of Non-Self-Governing Territories. Then you you slowly enter in negotiations with the administering state, demanding more legal self-governance. Over time you get more and more independent (it's lobby work), and finally you can hold a referendum to get independent (like the referendum in Tokelau, for instance). It is then advisable to remain as an associated state in bounds with the former administrering state. Which is no bad thing, as one does not have to deal with dumb stuff like international relations and the military (both of which is not necessary for peaceful living).
Some more cocepts that are interesting in this context: extraterritoriality, international zone and neutral territory.
Now, here are the findings. The options here are sorted, the most interesting ones first:
- Kerguelen Islands. Belongs to France, is quite huge (120x150km) and has no native population, just approx. 100 people in a research station. Being at 49° South, the climate is harsh but bearable (vegetation, sheep etc. can survive). This seems cool as a place for a 250 people large base of a sovereign ship-based community … the people in the base can grow food in greenhouses etc. and join the ship on the next yearly visit, when other people from the ship go to the land.
- Falkland Islands. They have already a partial self-governing status. Just 3000 people on a vast island, mostly English speaking, and good telecommunications. It is a British overseas territory.
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. There is even a ghost town that could be used: Grytviken [source]. There are currently ~30 people present there [source 1, source 2]. There is even an account of a guy who rented four hectares of land on South Georgia, for an shilling per year, and lived there as an eremit [source]. South Georgia has already a partial self-governing status, comparable to the Falkland island [source 1, source 2].
- Saint Kitts and Nevis. A two-isle nation in the Caribbean.
- Corvo Island. One of the Azores Islands, has a nice climate, ~450 people and a lot to do in the economy (as people emigrate).
- Greenland. Just over 50,000 people, the thinnest populated island on earth.
- Some other island from the Azores.
- Saint Helena. Nice climate, 4250 people and a lot to do in the economy. One could envision Internet centric companies to be founded there.
- Palau. A very young sovereign state with 20,000 inhabitants, consisting of some islands in the tropic region. This state was the one offering asylum to Guantanamo detainees.
- Nauru. A Micronesian island-state with 10,000 inhabitants. It is just one island, the world's smallest island nation (21 sq km). And the interior is not inhabited due to abandoned phosphate mining. There is plenty of stuff to do for people who want to invest in a small nation's development. Including their unfinished website. Immigration seems difficult to impossible, however.
- Heard and McDonald Islands. Really remote, with no permanent population at all. Belongs to Australia. A nice site for a self-supported community of 250 people. Official site, including images and travel instructions: heardisland.aq.
- Prince Edwards Islands. There is a weather station present there, but nothing else. Official site see here.
- Crozet Islands. A small group of islands with harsh but bearable climate and just one weather station on one of them.
- Tristan da Cunha. Really interesting, as it contains enough people to not be lonely (about 275), has a nice climate and a very interesting, community-based society structure. It is called "the world's most remote inhabited island" [source]. However "No 'outsiders' are allowed to buy land or settle on Tristan – despite many applications to join a society referred to as 'Utopia'." [source].
- South Orkney Islands. It falls under the Antarctic treaty, so has non.recognizable claims of sovereignty. Which would be nice for establishing a community. But the climate is extremely cold.
Sources employed for creating the above list:
For years I am in search of better models for society. Here is another one. It has the special benefit that it can coexist with an area’s current political situation.
A monastery (at least the way it is thought to be) is founded by people who are critical of the social and political situation of their society. A monastery is located in a remote area, at a place where nobody else is interested in (e.g. in unfruitful lands etc.). This yields absence of political and military conflicts. The reason to found a monastery is to have more time for devotion (the relationship to God). In extension (to serve as a society model), the reason can be also to have more resources for all the stuff where resources are lacking for in the surrounding society. A monastery can exist in these remote locations because it is a center of learning and education that will be well-known in the surrounding region (so that trade can emerge: getting raw goods in exchange for processed goods and education). A study of monasteries around the world should be carried out to learn the pinciples of monastic living.
Outline of a modern (secular, but optionally faith-based) version of a monastery:
- it would (or could) be essentially mobile (people living in AWD trucks), but may have a base in a remote location
- because it is mobile, it can undertake operations in the surrounding region, like medical and construction operations, in the style of “labour army operations”
- membership would be voluntarily, leaving would be possible at any time
- there would be constant organized self-education within the monastery
- there would be some integrated high-tech facilities for processing raw goods and taking part in operations (like well drilling equipment)
- there would be special agreements with government about the special rights and protection of the monastery, and as soon as governments fails to meet these agreements the mobile monastery would move on (see the post on the “population market” model for society, but this is in smaller scale)
- modern high-tech communication equipment would be used for agile collaboration (in the style of XC, that is, “extreme collaboration”)
- all such monasteries would be self-governed (to prohibit abuse of centralized power over monasteries by not centralizing it)
- a monastery would split in two wen it reaches a certain size.
The idea of a monastery is also, especially, to not interfere at all (or as little as possible) with the officials, official organizations and other stuff in power of a society. This is the only meaningful option of avoiding loss of life, freedom and other important goods in the contact with these ever-changing and unpredictable powers. If there is a lesson to be learned from history, then that political powers are never stable and never predictable in the longer term, so contact with them must be avoided by any means. This also says that members have to research and develop techniques to live in very remote and harsh natural environments, like deserts etc., to avoid any contact with officials. Of course, monasteries have the bad fame of being secluded; but there is no reason for that to happen, as service to the outside world can happen in these construction operations and the like.
For years I am in search of better models for society. Here is another one. Normally, states may suppress people, but the people are not able to suppress the state. This situation should be changed so that states are forced to compete for people; which would establish a “population market”. People would migrate to the state with the best conditions, there would be a high and short-term fluctuation between states.
To be more specific: there should be at least one large group of stateless people (or at least, people with cosmopolitan self-identification). They should number at least 250,000 people and be organized like an army, but for constructive work. (The inner power structure has to be discussed, but probably has to be a meritocracy or modified egalitarian democracy). This group should search recognition in international law as a sovereign without land, comparable to the Order of Malta (nearly everybody knows them … they are the operators behind Malteser first aid and relief agencies). Then, this group seeks a homeland. Which means they ask potential host countries if they would guarantee to work towards some minimal standards for its whole (!) population, including civil liberties etc., and if possible the status of extraterritoriality for the group’s base so that it can be controlled by the group’s own laws (it is not necessary to have own land to be truly sovereign, just to have temporary land with extraterritoriality, as e.g. the Order of Malta has). And if (and as long as) a state grants this, the group comes and commits to constructive work in the country. States will want to not lose this group, and therefore keep up the minimal standards, as losing that group means losing the driving factor of ones economy, and therefore the source of personal gain for the powerful persons in any state (as the group would be composed of highly intelligent, life-long educated people from all over the world). The group would be mobile, and always stay mobile (living in trucks), so that it can indeed draw out of any state within days. It also would be highly trained in techniques how to avoid being arrested and get out of a country instead, should a state try to use arrests to hinder these people from getting out of a country.
This new society model targets to disrupt the principles by which people are able to bring other people under power. Namely: by coercion (military and “political control technology”), by lazyness (of people, to out-migrate), by social cohesion (which holds people back from out-migrating alone).
There are two types of society: those whose working principle is want (necessity, absence) and those whose working principle is abundance. In practice, there are all sorts of societies in between these extremes. Strictly speaking, the abundance based society is paradise.
It is important to note that “lack” and “abundance” here do not refer to richness or scarcity of natural resources. In a global scale, the world is rich for all people (which can be seen from the simple fact that it would be rich for all if humanity would be so self-restrained as to keep the world population constantly at 200 million people).
Instead, want and abundance are results of human attitudes. A society that mainly is about “rights” (including money as the licence / right to buy, and including the “state of law” concept) is one that either has a problem with aggressive or greedy attitued of its members. So that “rights” are introduced to deal with these, either to restrict them, or to provide tools so that greed and agressiveness can be more efficient (like greed in capitalistic “states of law”).
Now where these attitudes are eliminated and instead positive “abundance providing” attitudes are developed (as is the ultimate goal of Christian love), the transformation to an abundance-based society is performed. This can be done sector by sector; one example is the “free software” movement, where people wave their “right” to licence their work, and create abundance for people to use their software free of charge and free as in “free speech”.
In extension to these thoughts: it follows that companies are a very poor approach for managing the natural resources of this world. A company is notoriously “want centered”: it always lacks resources, because resources are expensive, and the money should come out as gain instead of being spent on resources. Also, a company has short-range monetary targets and is therefore unable to stick to long-term goals and stability. Just compare the naming and version numbering in the Java world to that of the Linux kernel, or the chaotic development of WIndows to the linear development of the Linux kernel.
Most states in Africa call themselves “democracies” and are formally “democracies”, but the real ways of influence and might are that different that they are not to be regarded as democracies.
Even Iran seems to call itself a democracy, but is dictatorship. It is very clever to keep other countries and the own people as quiet as possible by telling them that the state is a democracy.
Now, what about Germany, about Europe? They will probably be called “democracies” even in 50 years, just because the people would not be quiet in anything else. But the reality, behind the scenes, might be different then. And it might be different very now. There is nothing a-priori that tells us our state is currently a more democratic democracies than some African ones. It probably is (yet), but this has to be measured!